Performing in New York City, October 2008
|Birth name||Mica Levi|
|Born||28 February 1987
|Genres||Experimental pop, avant-pop, lo-fi, indie, noise pop, grindie, film score|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, electronics, found objects|
|Labels||Rough Trade, Accidental|
|Associated acts||Brother May, Dean Blunt, DELS, Ghostpoet, Kwes, Matthew Herbert, London Contemporary Orchestra, Oliver Coates, Tirzah|
|Good Sad Happy Bad|
|Also known as||Micachu & The Shapes (2008-2016)|
Mica Levi (born 28 February 1987), known by her stage name Micachu, is an English singer, songwriter, composer, and producer. She is classically trained and is best known for her band Micachu & The Shapes and for creating experimental music in a variety of genres.
Levi performed as a DJ in London, and released a mixtape titled Filthy Friends, which was posted on her official Myspace page. For Filthy Friends she enlisted the help of friends and musicians of various backgrounds including MCs Baker Trouble, Brother May, Man Like Me & Ghostpoet, singer-songwriter Jack Peñate, jazz band Troyka, London pop-band Golden Silvers as well as producers Kwes and Toddla T. Following its release, Filthy Friends became sought after on the London club scene.
Levi was an Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre in London in 2010.
Levi co-wrote and produced Tirzah's I'm Not Dancing EP, which was released by Greco-Roman Records in August 2013, to critical acclaim.
Levi composed the soundtrack to Under the Skin, a film directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson, released in 2014. The film is based upon the novel of the same name by Michel Faber. She was nominated for multiple Awards for this score and won Best Composer for this score at the 2014 European Film Awards, tying with Jonny Greenwood for Best Music/Score at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Critics Awards. She has also been nominated for the 2015 BAFTA Award for Best Film Music.
Micachu and the Shapes
Levi formed a band called The Shapes, which includes Raisa Khan on keyboards and Marc Pell on drums. They signed to Accidental Records. With the Shapes, Levi's focus has been on experimental pop music. Most of this music prominently features an acoustic half-guitar with various non-standard tunings, extensive distortion, and use of noise and found-object elements, as well as occasionally unusual time signatures. Despite these experimental leanings, the artist categorizes her output with The Shapes as pop music.
Their debut album, Jewellery, produced with influential electronic musician Matthew Herbert, was recorded around Mica's composition studies at Guildhall School. Advance copies of the record reached the press in early 2009, and generated positive feedback. In the wake of this growing buzz, Micachu and the Shapes were signed to Rough Trade, who released Jewellery on 9 March 2009. Drowned In Sound consequently hailed the record as "thrillingly improbable pop made by a grade-A maverick."
Micachu and the Shapes toured widely throughout the UK in 2008, including performances at Bestival and V Festival. The band played in the US at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and SXSW in Austin, Texas. They also performed on the Main Stage of the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island in Brooklyn in July 2009. Touring continued throughout Europe and North America in the summer and fall of 2009. In Spring of 2010, Micachu and the Shapes supported Spoon on tour throughout North America.
The band performed with the London Sinfonietta at Kings Place, London in May 2010 and in March 2011 released the live recording as the album "Chopped and Screwed". Unlike their previous effort, the recording largely avoids pop sensibilities in favor of a slower, hip-hop indebted style and repetitive, discordant string arrangements. The band were chosen by Animal Collective to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that they curated in May 2011 in Minehead, England.
The follow-up to their debut, Never, was released on 23 July 2012.
|Year||Album details||Peak positions|
|2009||Jewellery (with The Shapes)||196|
|2012||Never (with The Shapes)
|2014||Under The Skin (OST)
|2015||Good Sad Happy Bad (with The Shapes)
|2016||Remain Calm (with Oliver Coates)
|Year||Album details||Peak positions|
|2011||Chopped and Screwed (with The Shapes and the London Sinfonietta)
|2010||Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.1 with Kwes.
|2011||Meat Batch with Kwake Bass
|Chopped & Screwed Mixtape with Brother May
|2012||Kwesachu Mixtape Vol.2 with Kwes.
|2014||Feeling Romantic Feeling Tropical Feeling Ill
Singles / EPs
- "Lone Ranger" (2008)
- "Golden Phone" (2008)
- "Lips" (2009)
- "Turn Me Well" (2009)
- "I'm Not Dancing" (2013) (with Tirzah)
- "No Romance" (2014) (with Tirzah)
- "Thinking of You" (2015) (with Nozinja, Tirzah and Mumdance)
- "Make It Up" (2015) (with Tirzah)
- "Taz and May Vids" (2016) (with Tirzah and Brother May)
- "May and Meeks" (2016) (with Brother May)
- "Looking Up at the Sun / Mash One" (2016) (with Good Sad Happy Bad)
- "Clothes Wear Me" (2016) (with KEVIN)
Awards and recognition
- "Micachu | Biography, Albums, & Streaming Radio | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- Thompson, Ben (2015-08-02). "Micachu and the Shapes review – renaissance woman goes back to basics". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- "Micachu teams up with Brother May for 'May And Meeks' EP". DIY. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- "Rapper Ghostpoet talks about his struggle for success". 2015-02-21. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- Burrows, Tim. Micachu and the Shapes: The Shape of Things To Come, "The Telegraph, 4 March 2009"
- "Resident Orchestras & Artists in Residence". Southbank Centre. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "Tirzah: "I'm Not Dancing" | Tracks". Pitchfork. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Levi, Mica (2014-03-15). "How Mica Levi got Under The Skin of her first film soundtrack". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- Cadwalladr, Carole (2014-03-16). "Scarlett Johansson interview: 'I would way rather not have middle ground'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- NME.COM. "Mica Levi on scoring 'Under the Skin': 'I dreamt the world came out of Scarlett Johansson's face' | NME.COM". NME.COM. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- "LAFCA". LAFCA. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
- "Mica Levi earns BAFTA nomination for Under The Skin score". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- "Mica Levi scores Jackie Kennedy biopic starring Natalie Portman". August 16, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
- Records, Rough Trade. "Rough Trade Records". Rough Trade Records. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
- Ubaghs, Charles (2009-03-17). "Album Review: Micachu - Jewellery / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". Drownedinsound.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
- Hogan, Marc. "What's the Matter with Sweden?" in Pitchfork.com 29 March 2010
- "Micachu | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
- "Micachu & the Shapes and London Sinfonietta present: CHOPPED & SCREWED", Rough Trade Records.
- "ATP curated by Animal Collective - All Tomorrow's Parties". Atpfestival.com. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "Good Sad Happy Bad critics reviews". Mertacritic.com. September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2016.
- "Pop and Jazz Listings and Albums for the Fall Season". New York Times, SEPT. 7, 2015
- "News | DOWNLOAD: Kwesachu Vol. 2". The Quietus. 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
- Jayson Greene (2014-04-17). "Mica Levi: Under the Skin OST Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2017-01-10.
- "European Film Academy : THE 27TH EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS: WINNERS". Europeanfilmacademy.org. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
- "Original Music Nominees in 2015". Bafta.org. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
- "L.A. Film Critics Awards: Jonny Greenwood & Mica Levi Tie in Best Music Score Category". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-03-12.
- Micachu website
- Accidental Records profile
- BBC newsbeat: Is Micachu the next big thing?
- Michachu page at Rough Trade Records
- Interview - December 2009 -(Portuguese web-zine)
- Micachu vs Kwake Bass "Meat Batch Mix" on Andrew Meza's BTS Radio
- Interview with Mica Levi on Headphone Commute, December 2014
- Micachu at the Internet Movie Database